Your favorite CLINT EASTWOOD western ?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Richard--W, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. RhodyDave125

    RhodyDave125 Streetwalkin' Cheetah

    I disagree. TGTBATU is a great movie for a number of reasons. It is also responsible for creating much of the film "vocabulary" that we take for granted in the years since it was made. The impeccable synthesis of music and image; the wide shots contrasted with the super tightly cropped close ups; the deconstruction of archetypes; the long build up without dialogue; all of these things were refined by Leone into what is the finest example of the mythical Western ever made.

    The only issue I concede is the length. I suspect you have seen the extended version, which is not what Leone released nor is it how he envisioned it. There are good reasons why the content added in the extended version was left out in the theatrical release. Watch the film as Leone released it and I think you'll find it vastly improved.
  2. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Forum Resident

    The Good The Bad and The Ugly and The Outlaw Josey Wales.

    I love all his spaghetti Westerns even though I voted for Outlaw. It has aged well.
  3. yesstiles

    yesstiles Forum Resident

    That's how I reacted until I realized that the character we thought was a protagonist, was not. In fact, Eastwood's character is basically a demon or ghost come to exact revenge on the shameful citizens of Lago....soon to become Hell.
    muffmasterh likes this.
  4. Dreadnought

    Dreadnought Painting It Black

    Toronto, Canada
    I watched it last week in what has become an annual viewing and based upon my enjoyment of the individual characters and acting prowess, despite the billing, I've come to think of this as an Eli Wallach western. Not challenging the commonly held identity as a Clint movie but Eli is the main man for me.

    At your first two sentences I had to shift my yes to the left to verify the avatar/name. Nope, that's not me. Sometimes one sees their own forgotten posts from years ago, and sometimes that freaks me out. :laugh:
    GodShifter likes this.
  5. dmiller458

    dmiller458 Forum Resident

    Midland, Michigan
    That's one of best things about the character is that it's never fully explained as to who he is. Yeah, he could be the ghost of the Duncan, or family, or even just a "we rode together" scenario. It leaves it to our imagination.

    He did the same thing with Pale Rider.
    Dave Hoos likes this.
  6. dmiller458

    dmiller458 Forum Resident

    Midland, Michigan
    What the other star out there had made a lot of Westerns? And other thing, did he ever made a science-fiction film?
  7. Yovra

    Yovra Forum Enthusiast

    John Wayne? Jack Palance?
    I think the most "SF" Clint did was 'Firefox'.....
  8. Yovra

    Yovra Forum Enthusiast

    And Space Cowboys... and an uncredited role in "Tarantula"
  9. dmiller458

    dmiller458 Forum Resident

    Midland, Michigan
    No, I mean an actor that's out there now. We've had some recent westerns but I can't think of any actor that makes them on a regular basis.
  10. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Josey Wales
  11. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Top 3 Clint Eastwood stars/directs
    1: Unforgiven
    2: Josey Wales
    3: High Plains Drifter
    Dave Hoos and Grand_Ennui like this.
  12. Richard--W

    Richard--W Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Clint's best western was the TV series Rawhide.
  13. Richard--W

    Richard--W Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I disagree. Spaghetti westerns are not westerns. Spags (for short) are their own genre separate
    and apart from westerns. The nihilism and shallowness may have been cool and hip for a while
    but had a bad influence on the genre and did more to kill the classic American western than any
    other factor. Sergio and Clint poured a poison into the mix. They did the genre no favors, and in
    fact contributed less to it than any other director or actor.

    TGTBATU is not responsible for creating the film "vocabulary" that we take for granted today.
    Wide shots contrasted with close ups was forced upon the director by the Techniscope process
    and was not an artistic decision. The synthesis of music and image started in the silent days
    and was refined by John Ford, particularly, among others. Long build-ups without dialogue
    were nothing new, either; check out the third act of High Noon. The deconstruction of archetypes
    was characteristic of the sixties and seventies and neither began nor ended with TGTBATU.
    It actually started in the 1950s with westerns like The Hanging Tree and Man of the West.
    Leone merely put these things into the service of his spag universe.

    I agree with your comment on the length and the shorter version Leone intended us to see.

    Once Upon a Time in the West is a beautiful poem of a film. It is 100% successful on its
    own terms and is the only spag that rises above dreck. It works for me. Leone's finest film.
  14. Richard--W

    Richard--W Forum Resident Thread Starter

    A reiteration:

    I love David Lean films more than TGTB&TU but Jarre's scores for Lean don't compare to
    Ennoi Morricone's TGTB&TU score. Not many scores do. Morricone's score is just way out
    there in the land of grand eloquent dissonance. I agree the build-up is phenomenal, but towards
    what? Spinning the camera around the cemetery? Without the music the ending would be

    Actually, the scene I like most is at the beginning when Angel Eyes rides up to Stevens' house,
    where the boy outside rides the mule in circles, and invites himself in for dinner. He ends up
    killing the family, and the wife faints with the camera spinning to her black-out. Dramatically it's
    an amazing scene that operates entirely on inference and suggestion. The acting, the eyelines,
    the looks exchanged, the worried wife, the boys knowing something is wrong, Stevens silently
    trying to figure out the stranger and how to survive the minutes, his resignation, the shot
    structure, the way the scene plays out. Everything is perfect. Lee Van Cleef is brilliant, leering
    and sneering and arrogant as hell. It is directed shot and edited brilliantly. I think it's the best
    ten minutes Leone ever did. The rest of the film has it moments but taken altogether they don't
    add up to the greatness of this one ten-minute scene. I wish Van Cleef had made entire movies
    just like this scene.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  15. Luke The Drifter

    Luke The Drifter Forum Resident

    United States
    That is certainly a unique take.
  16. Yovra

    Yovra Forum Enthusiast

    An excellent argument to which I disagree. There ís a shallowness in TGTBATU is there, but sometimes there's a serious undercurrent that precedes the drama in Once Upon A Time In The West. And I don't thing one genre is killed by the succes of the other (like Elvis wasn't 'finished off' by The Beatles). I think the classic western had run its course and it may have been time for something noisier, something unshaven and gritty.
  17. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Most underrated western ?
    High Plains Drifter
    Dave Hoos and showtaper like this.
  18. Richard--W

    Richard--W Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The American western had plenty of unshaven grittiness before it
    cleaned up and reverted back again. If you think the genre ran its
    course then you haven't seen many westerns. It was always a
    pliable genre, which could accommodate different approaches
    and styles and types of storytelling. The western still has plenty
    of life left in it. It has changed a great deal but it has not run its
    course, not by a long shot.

    The spag is a fraud. A hollow shell. An imitation. A tinhorn. It
    uses the nomenclature and iconography to tell a story that is
    essentially European, if it has a story at all, instead of American.

    A handful of spags are dramatically viable. Some spags will have
    a dramatically viable moment amidst all the silliness and sadism.

    The west didn't happen in Spain nor in Italy. It happened in America.
    The western grew out of the way Americans lived as they crossed the
    continent. The western is our story, the story of our pioneer days.
    That is unique. It couldn't have happened anywhere else. In Europe,
    the American western is a foreign art film. For many decades the
    western represented America on foreign movie screens, and it was
    how they viewed us. Many American westerns are among the finest
    films ever made. The earliest westerns were made by the pioneers
    themselves; few of these survive today.
  19. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Seen Pony Express dvd the other day, should have got it.
  20. Richard--W

    Richard--W Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Which Pony Express?
  21. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

  22. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Josey Wales,
    Is that the one he’s always spitting on the dog ?
    Dave Hoos and showtaper like this.
  23. Richard--W

    Richard--W Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That's the one. Clint still has a lot of spit in him.

    There were a lot of westerns about the Pony Express mail delivery but I think you mean this one:

    Paramount, 1953.

    on this DVD:

    There is an earlier version from 1925 in which the surviving Pony Express riders actually ride the horses:


    It has been preserved by the good folks at Grapevine Video:

    The pioneers of the American west loved 3-D photography. This stereocard shows a water station and corral for fresh horses operated by the Pony Express in Hanging Rock, Utah, way out in the middle of nowhere, circa 1862:


    Enlarged detail:


    The Italians didn't know anything about the Pony Express when they made those 375 spags in Spain.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  24. Yovra

    Yovra Forum Enthusiast

    I think you take the Western genre a bit too serious. Of course there are monumental movies like Stagecoach, but there's Roy Rogers too. Or '4 for Texas'.
    I just saw a bit of a documentary about the location of the final scenes of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and there's a snippet of Leone (while eating a generous bowl of spaghetti!) telling that that movie is just about three scoundrels in the Civil war. It isn't a fraud; it's an operetta of violence, clichés and stolen bits from Kurusawa (so the stories are just as often Japanese) and as entertaining and gripping as hell! You know where the director is up to when he introduces Klaus Kinski as one of the bad guys and
    Gian Maria Volontè as the drug-addicted even badder guy; he goes for the effect, not for a decent portrayal of the real villain from the West....
    Fraud? As long as its entertaining it's okay with me!
    RhodyDave125 likes this.
  25. Richard--W

    Richard--W Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I take the Western genre seriously, but not too seriously. I enjoy the
    Roy Rogers western musicals, too, as well as the Gene Autry western
    musicals. Oldtimers in the 1930s and 1940s who had survived pioneer
    days loved those. They passed the American west on to their children
    and grandchildren. It's not a matter of taking it too seriously so much
    as being what you are. The American west is an actual culture and a
    society. It exists in real life. It is not a myth. It's really here. It has a
    a history which is documented and lived. A lot of fiction came out of
    the American west, but that fiction reflects how the pioneers saw
    themselves. People who write about the American west as myth, as
    if it didn't actually happen, or as if the were no truth behind the
    fiction, don't know what they're talking about.

    I saw the Dollars trilogy on the big screen in 1970 or 1971. All three films
    played together at the Smithtown Indoor-Outdoor drive-in. I would go
    inside in the morning and stay all day. A little too much nihilism and
    sadism for me, but I still enjoyed them when I was a kid. It wasn't until
    I started watching them on bluray as an adult that I lost respect for them.
    Spags are fantasies at best.

    Yes, you are correct, Sergio stole from Kurosawa as well, and was rightly
    sued for the offense. If you think stealing intellectual property is something
    to brag about then the spag is the right genre for you.

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